Hi Everyone, i appreciate any feedback on my PSE:
The essay must address: (a) reasons for applying to MSU Denver MSW program (b) discuss personal philosophy, values, and professional experiences that have influenced your decision to pursue this profession (c) discuss your strengths and weaknesses (d) discuss your career plans and focus in the field of social work (e) discuss your experience with diversity both personal and professional (f) describe a time when you were given critical feedback. What was your reaction? What did you learn about yourself?
Ever since I was in middle school, I wanted to help people. I couldn't handle blood, so I always told others, "I wanted to help people in a non-abrasive way." To me that meant I wanted to work with people to make their lives better from the inside out. Helping with personal problems, getting out of a bad situation, and sometimes just listening would be enough. A few years later, while in middle school, I found a show while channel surfing called "Judging Amy." That's when I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. There was a character on the show named Maxine and she was a social worker. No one had ever told me about that career choice. I admired everything that character did to help people in her community. After that I looked into what steps I needed to take. I went to college and majored in Psychology and Sociology. I started volunteering at Urban Peak, a non-profit that helps homeless and at-risk youth in the community by giving them shelter, job readiness training, or even helping them get their GED. The next step for me to work towards helping the community is getting my MSW. I would like to attend Metropolitan State University Denver because of the community, location in downtown Denver, and the diversity among the students and staff.
In my current career, I was given the feedback that not everything had to be answered right away and to be patient. People may get back to you in a day or two and that is ok. I learned to prioritize my tasks based on importance, and that I have to multitask in order to not fall too far behind. I adjusted to letting people know that I would not be able to get back to them that day. This experience taught me that I do not have to worry about getting everything done immediately. People are ok with waiting as long as I have communicated an expectation as to when they are going to get a response.
In the field of customer service I face diversity everyday. I talk to people that contact us for different occasions, have different preferences, and different levels of knowledge as to our menu. Some people know everything about bbq and what we offer. Other people call with no knowledge except they want bbq. I have to start from the basics to ensure their event is as perfect as someone who orders from us on a daily basis. When I volunteer I experience a different type of diversity. There are youth there that come from different ethnic background, sexual orientations and different socioeconomic statuses.
I consider myself someone who looks at life with a humanistic perspective. I look for the good in someone rather than simply judging them on their past. I try to get to know someone and their personal situation without taking their history into consideration. While volunteering at the shelter I don't look at the client's folder including their background. I introduce myself and have a conversation without knowing anything about them. I ask them questions and try to get to know them as they are now. I always let the clients know that I am available to talk if they ever want to. I have found that the youth find it easier to talk to someone that doesn't instantly go to a place of expecting them to fail or considering them untrustworthy. Sometimes, they just need someone to listen without judgment and not say anything in return.
I believe that people have the ability to change. Someone's childhood has a major impact on the rest of their lives. It could leave them exposed to violence, drugs and less than ideal situations. At the shelter a lot of the youth have been raised in household and foster homes that are not a safe or a loving environment. One experience at the shelter that impacted me was a youth that confided in me about her life before she came to the Peak. She talked about being bullied at school and how she felt that there was no refuge at home. She never felt that she had a place to escape or anyone to talk to about what she was going through. She eventually ran away and ended up in foster care. Her foster parents never forced her to attend school, didn't feed her regularly or set any structure. When she eventually got out of the foster system, she felt that she was set up to fail and was instantly alone. After a few months of trying to get on her feet, she met a few former clients of the Peak and built the courage to come and ask for help. She said without the staff at Urban Peak she didn't know where she would be. The structure and sense of security helped her start the steps towards being able to be independent. She felt accepted by everyone and now has plans to attend school and start the first stages to becoming a counselor. This and other experiences are examples of why I want to go into the field of social work.
Some of my strengths are also my weaknesses. An example of this is my trusting personality where I give people the benefit of the doubt. This is a positive since I can look past a person's history and focus on their future. However, this can also be a negative when they violate my trust and I continue to allow leeway when not validated. An example of this is while at the shelter I started a craft time whenever I was there. I left my crafts at the shelter and a youth stole from the box while I was away. I continued to purchase replacement craft supplies with the knowledge that this is allowing them to believe they can get away with breaking the rules.
When I become a social worker, I want to help as many people as possible. One question people ask me when I tell them what I want to do is, are you sure you can handle it? I believe that with the field of social work you are going to be faced with challenges that not everyone is comfortable facing. I want to start with helping youth in our society get on their feet, whether that is with a non-profit like Urban Peak or with Child Welfare Services (CWS). I would be able to show people the tools that are already in place to help them succeed. This might not always be the case and I may be faced with the need to take a child away from their family for their well-being. This is not always easy since there is a stigma about CWS and how they just want to rip families apart. I would want to work with communities and show them that we are there to help not hinder the youth. Later on in my career I want to work with pregnant teens and be there for the entire experience and after birth. I want to set up or work with a facility that gives them support and shows how to do it on their own. I would be a positive force; demonstrating the importance of finishing school and creating a career in order to take care of their child. I would also want to show the option of adoption. I would like to grow in this field as I feel this is where my passion lies. I believe that the youth that are helped through social work have a place they can go to when they need help.